Sam Bankman-Fried Has Agreed To Be Extradited

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Dec 19, 2022 - 11:23 PM

Update (1815ET): It has been quite a day in Nassau. The on-again, off-again deportation process of Sam Bankman-Fried has once again swung the other way.

Following a chaotic court hearing earlier today - in which his local lawyer appeared at odds with his US legal team - The Wall Street Journal reports that, according to a person familiar with the matter, the FTX founder has agreed to be extradited, and plans were being fleshed out by his legal team after the day’s court proceedings.

Jerone Roberts, who represents Mr. Bankman-Fried in the Bahamas, has reportedly agreed to draft the necessary documents after having a conference call with the former chief executive and his U.S. lawyers.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyers hope to have a new hearing on the matter as early as Tuesday.

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Update (1250ET): Bankman-Fried reportedly wants to see the indictment against him before agreeing to extradition to the United States, according to Reuters, citing a statement made by SBF's attorney to a court in the Bahamas on Monday.

He had been expected to waive his right to an extradition hearing on Monday morning, but in court demanded to see a copy of his federal indictment.

As we detailed earlier, reports over the weekend suggested that Bankman-Fried would consent to extradition, but the former crypto billionaire told a different story Monday, demanding to see a copy of his federal indictment before agreeing to return to the U.S. He will return to Fox Hill jail rather than surrendering himself to U.S. custody.

CNBC reports that in open court, chaos reigned.

Bankman-Fried, dressed in a blue suit and white button down, was visibly shaking. His Bahamian defense attorney told the court that he was “shocked” that Bankman-Fried was in court.

“I did not request him to be here this morning,” the attorney said. Franklyn Williams KC, the Bahamian prosecutor, said that he “understood that [Bankman-Fried] intended to waive extradition,” according to an NBC News producer present in the courtroom.

As Cointelegraph notes, some members of the crypto space, including the team behind YouTuber Ben Armstrong, also known as Bitboy Crypto, reported on Twitter they appeared in person at the hearing to “look SBF in the eyes.”

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It appears crypto-criminal Sam Bankman-Fried would rather take his chances in the relative 'luxury' of an American jail than face another night in Bahamian's corrections department, as he is expected to accept extradition as soon as this morning.

After being arrested and denied bail by a Bahamas court, the 30-year-old has been held at Fox Hill Prison in Nassau.

The facility has been criticized in international reports for overcrowding and lacking sanitation.

Reports indicate that he shares a cell with five other individuals.

The NY Times reports one former Fox Hill inmate Sean Hall, who was freed from jail last year, said:

“It’s no living situation for no type of living being.”

According to Hall, the width of his cell was less than the span of his stretched arms, and they slept on bare metal bunk beds infested with insects.

Another source acquainted with the situation told the Wall Street Journal that Sam Bankman-Fried’s team had provided meals that matched his dietary requirements, but they were uncertain as of Friday if he had received them.

According to people familiar with the matter, Sam Bankman-Fried is due in a Bahamian court on Monday where he is expected to agree to be extradited to the US to face charges of fraud.

Extradition will pave the way for a protracted legal showdown in the U.S. On Tuesday, the Southern District of New York of the Justice Department unsealed a 13-page criminal indictment.

Bitcoinist reports, that, according to defense attorney Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma, Bankman-Fried would likely be detained at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn upon arriving in the U.S., although some defendants are being kept at jails just outside of New York City owing to congestion at the facility.